The message has been reinforced by the Dogs Trust, which has urged all dog owners to be aware of the risks and to consider the welfare of their beloved pets. A team of experts at LeaseCar.uk looked at the changing internal temperatures of a car with different external temperatures.
Internal temperatures increase the longer a dog is left on its own – and so too does the consequent threat to the animal’s health.
For instance, 21 degrees centigrade outside can see a car’s internal temperature shoot up to over 45 degrees in just an hour – more than double what it was at the start.
If the external temperature is 35 degrees, inside the car the mercury can hit an unsurvivable 60 degrees.
For humans, high environmental temperatures can be dangerous to the body.
In the range of 32 and 40 degrees, people can experience heat cramps and exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion becomes even more likely between 40 and 54 degrees.
However, dogs, with their layers of warm fur, and who must pant to try to keep cool given their inability to sweat, therefore face grave danger in any sort of raised temperature.
A spokesman for LeaseCar.uk said: “Animal welfare messages have been extremely effective in recent years educating people not to leave their dogs in cars on a hot day due to the risks of overheating.
“But the simple truth is even on what might seem a mild or warm day where temperatures are around the 20 degrees mark, the internal temperature of a car can quickly multiply to dangerous and fatal levels.”
The spokesman added: “We are therefore urging motorists to NEVER leave a dog unattended, whether wind, rain or shine.
“Don’t make that ‘quick dash to the shops’ result in a fatal error which will stay with you forever by leaving your pet on its own in a car and potentially at risk.
“Instead, practice good habits by always ensuring that when you leave the car to run an errand, if your dog has been travelling with you, it also goes with you.”
Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, said: “We all want to have fun and head out with our dogs whatever the weather, but sadly every year we hear of dogs getting in distress because they are left in cars on warm days.
“Many people still believe it’s OK if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s not and we strongly advise that dog owners should never leave their dog in a car on a warm day, even if it feels cool outside.”
Dogs Trust is urging owners to:
– Avoid walking dogs at the hottest times of the day – early mornings or later in the evenings is often best – and take plenty of water
– Be careful of walking dogs on hot tarmac by doing the ‘seven-second test’ – if it’s too hot for human hands, it’s too hot for dogs’ paws
– Avoid long car journeys where possible and not to travel during the hottest and busiest times of the day, avoid congested roads as much as possible, take regular breaks and have plenty of water on board